Advocacy efforts in the medical profession are evolving as technology evolves. The rise of social media, in particular, has brought about great change in the way organizations, such as the ACR, interact with Congress.
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At the 2017 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, Nov. 3–8 in San Diego, former Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.) will discuss how to continue to advocate successfully in the social media era from 9–10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, in Room 5B.
During the session, Intro to Advocacy: First Steps, Social Media & Technology, Sen. Hutchinson, who is senior director of the Greenberg Traurig law firm in Washington, D.C., will review what the past year has meant for healthcare and health policy in the U.S. at the state and federal levels, and how clinicians can effectively advocate in the current environment.
“The election of President [Donald] Trump has demonstrated the power of social media,” Sen. Hutchinson says. “We will explore how advocates for healthcare issues can use social media positively and effectively.
“Communicating with Congress has changed dramatically in the past two decades,” he continues. “And it’s not solely the development of social media and the Internet that have changed things. Concerns about terrorism and cyber security have created challenges in communicating with Congress today that didn’t exist 20 years ago. I’ll give some suggestions for overcoming those challenges.”
Individual vs. Collective Advocacy
Sen. Hutchinson says he’s often asked if individual citizens can still make a difference in influencing members of Congress, so he’ll address that question. He’ll also discuss the advantages of being part of an association, such as the ACR.
“An individual can still make a difference, but there are real advantages to collective advocacy like the efforts put forth by the American College of Rheumatology,” he says. “I’ll be using the College’s success throughout the years to illustrate how we can engage in effective advocacy. There will also be lessons from the times we haven’t been successful.”
Finally, Sen. Hutchinson will discuss popular social media tactics for engaging with members of Congress and review tools that make it convenient for members of large groups to get their messages to members.
ACR Director of Public Relations Jocelyn Givens will close out the session, providing detailed technical instruction on how members can actually use social media platforms and other tools for advocacy and patient education purposes.